Much of the analysis I have about WC Fields is in the first section of this blog (see link above) Here in the second part I want simply to play a couple of his most popular comic sketches. The quality speaks for itself.
(above ) W.C. in a candid shot at a Hollywood party is joined by another timeless comedian, Groucho Marx (sans his trademark greasepaint mustache. ), likely sometime around 1933-4 when they both were under contract with Paramount Pictures.Whatever they are talking about must have been funny.
(below) Fields has a cameo role along with several other Paramount comedians (including George Burns and Gracie Allen) in an early screwball vehicle called 'Six of a Kind" in 1933.
Here he plays small town Nevada sheriff named Honest John. The material here is based on a portion of a vaudeville routine with a special pool table that Fields used in his live act.
Interestingly Fields starred in many silent films although its hard to imagine him without his trademark voice. His first silent film was a knockabout short called "Pool Sharks" in 1915. (See the photo at the top of this page.) The film itself is only of interest as a curiosity for the 35 year old Fields is just a wise guy fighting over a girl with another potential suitor and there's a good deal of trick photography in the pool game scenes. . There's apparently none of that here.
Below: W.C. Fields first starring talking feature, 1934's "It's A Gift". This classic bit inspired a lot of comedians, including John Cleese of Monty Python who worked the idea of a set-upon proprietor into his frustrated English hotelier series "Fawlty Towers". Cleese acknowledged Fields as his favorite sound-era comedian.